Monday, July 28, 2008

Titletown revisited

ESPN does a lot of bad things once they go beyond showing highlights and commenting on highlights. Who's Now series last year was horrible, very horrible. I'll never get over the fact that part of the arguement for Lebron James being "Who's Now" was the fact that he had a nickname. ("Nickname....King James" as the voice over said so matter of factly).

Now we have Titletown USA where ESPN basically recites a resume of each city and their championships and at the end they or maybe voters declare a town Titletown. At first, the idea isn't Who's Now bad but as always they fail to have any criteria for selection and the process dwindles some vague, odd voice over recitation followed by visits to small college towns with crowds and sometimes the whole town screaming "We're #1" albeit at swimming but yeah "We're #1 at swimming and we should be Titletown USA" or "Joe Dimaggio moved here when he was 1 so that means we should be considered Titletown USA" joke that was one of the factoids cited for San Francisco.

They visit towns like Chicago, ok, they have the Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears.......somethings missing, I can't put my finger on it. Anyway, they go over the championships won like I said for each city. This I'm fine with.

But then they go deeper and then is where things start to go wrong, they start to look past championships and at individuals who won championships but not necessarily for the city. For example, when they went to Palo Alto and went over the resume of why "Palo Alto is Titletown USA" they used John Elway who played at Stanford but that what not the crux of their arguement. "Elway played for Stanford but went on to go to the Super Bowl with Denver and eventually leading them to the NFL promiseland twice". Ok, Ok, a couple of things here. First of all, you can't have it both ways. You can't use Elway for Palo Alto, then turn around and use him for Denver when you visit Denver. Basically, they shouldn't use individuals, that's silly.

Also, how does Joe Dimaggio moving to San Francisco when he was 1 have anything to do with San Francisco being a Titletown?

"Palo Alto Title town USA"? Here are a list of towns I could understand being under consideration. Pittsburgh, yes. New York, yes. St. Louis, yes. Chicago, yes. Miami, yes. Tallhassee, yes. Dallas, yes. Chapel Hill, yes. But Palo Alto? C'mon!

Ok, Mr. ESPN listen to me, first thing establish some criteria so that you aren't visiting Palo Alto and using a guy who played in Denver to argue that Palo Alto is Titletown USA. Stick to Professional team championships, college championships and any individuals needs to be tied to a professional team or college team that was located in Palo Alto. So, Tiger Woods would be on the table for winning the College Golf championship John Elway playing at Stanford would count if he had won a championship but John Elway playing in Denver wouldn't. Also, you might want to weight the different sports, I mean don't you think you would lose all credibility if you gave "Titletown USA" to a town where the highschool football team in Parkersburg, VA won the state title 30 years in a row or to Brandon, FL who's wrestling team didn't lose a match in 20 years. Do you really think that has as much weight on the national scale when compared to other bigger towns? Don't get me wrong, its a great thing what those towns have down, its amazing really.

I mean if we are talking about "Highschool Wrestling Town USA", then OK, Brandon, FL you are in the mix and a major player, but if we are talking about "Titletown USA" then I would consider them a major outlier.

So, in summary, ESPN needs to parse down the cities and focus on those cities that have professional and college championships. So, Palo Alto would still be in the mix because of their baseball championships in 1987 and 1988 but not because John Elway won the Super Bowl in Denver.

San Franciso would be in the mix because of the 49ers dynasty but not because Joe Dimaggio moved there when he was 1.


A Valdosta Sports Fan said...

Our small town, Valdosta, Georgia has won the Title Town USA contest--it will be announced on ESPN this evening. I know this because I am on the way to the stadium for the taping of the trophy presentation.
This small town boasts the winningest high school football team in the nation, along with it's cross-town rival, Lowndes County, who has won the state football championship three out of the last four years. We also are the home of the D2 football champions, the Valdosta State University Blazers.
All told, when looking at just state and national titles in all high school sports, Valdosta has almost 500 of them.
Aside from just the stats, the title goes to the heart and spirit of the competition. And not to say that big pro teams don't have fans with heart and spirit, but it's a lot easier to get behind those teams than to faithfully support local sports. And our fan's commitment to this town's sports was evident by the outpouring of submissions for initial Title Town consideration, the turnout for the taping of the segment (almost 7,000 as opposed to numbers in the hundreds for some of the bigger "pro-team" cities) and then the voting.
I'm proud our small town won this award. It would have been almost too easy to award it to a city with multiple professional sports teams. Sure they win--but they get paid to. Our kids play for the love of the game and the sold-out crowds watch for the same reason.

Runningman said...

Thanks for reading and taking the time to post. If indeed this is the case...Congrats!